P201 Menu


Matchbox "Magic


To get the box to "abandon" its state of rest and move, in as many ways as possible in the allotted time.

Many of the forces we experience daily can be classified as CONTACT FORCES becaue they involve two objects that are in contact with each other.

Whereas contact forces, primarily in the form of pushes and pulls, are rather concrete in nature (common experiences), non-contact forces may be regarded as more abstract.

NON-CONTACT FORCES are sometimes referred to as "action at a distance". Even Isaac Newton felt a little uneasy about the idea that a body that was not in contact with another could still exert an influence on it. As you will see during our study of forces, contact forces can actually be explained in terms of the kinds of forces usually classified as non-contact forces.


matchbox or other small box (paper clip boxes work well), various magnets and metal objects such as nails and paper clips, polystyrene "peanuts" and/or polystyrene plates, pieces of wool and silk-like fabric, string, tape, other objects, such as wooden block, rubber bands, springs, etc.


1. Use any of the objects on your table to make the box move.

2. Keep a record of each of your procedures.

NOTE: The box does not have to "begin" on the table; Just be sure that wherever it "begins," it is at rest, and then something that you do causes it to move. DON'T OVERLOOK "SIMPLE" SOLUTIONS!

Summing Up:

1. What is a FORCE? What is (are) the effect(s) of a force acting on a body?

2. In which of your methods did the motion of the box result from TOUCHING the box with your hand or some other object?

3. Did any of your methods involve getting the box to move WITHOUT touching it with your hand or another object? What is (are) the nature of the force(s) in that (those) case(s)? (NOTE: If you didn't include any of this type, consider holding the box above the table, at rest, and then releasing it.)

4. What is a political or social force? Would you classify these as "contact" or "non-contact" forces? Justify your reasons for such classifications.